It's said that, back in the day in upstate New York,
Dylan-happy vandals actually removed the handle of a community water pump in
reverence to the last line of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (in which it Dylan
claimed that, "The pumps don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles").
Thirty years later, those crazy rock and roll delinquents are at it again.
These days, however, they've moved across the country to Washington state,
where someone has snatched the mailbox of Screaming Trees bass player Van
Conner. In the final installment of our series on Van, he recounts the recent
"My mailbox got ripped off the other night," Conner
says, somewhat incredulously, "and there was no sheriff around. Somebody stole
my mailbox, I don't know why. It is a federal offense."
They just up
and walked off with it? "There's this thing, you know, old mailboxing fun,
where you smash mailboxes as you drive by?" Conner told us. "That old thing?
People like to do that out here a lot. And my mailbox has been hit several
times, but I always would just pound out the dents and put 'er back up. It's no
fun to hit again."
You mean if the mailbox isn't pristine? "Yeah, if it's
not nice. Then one day, I went out there, and it was gone. It had been torn off
the post, but in a nice careful way. And nobody else's mailbox was gone. They
even took out the bolts and stuff real nice, and they took my mailbox. It was
just a normal, everyday mailbox, it had our last name on it."
It must have
been a Screaming Trees fan. "I don't know," said Conner. "I wonder. I wonder
what the hell it is. But I called the postmaster and asked him what to do. And
I was just like, "Aw, I don't wanna get anybody in trouble. They can have my
You got a new one, we trust? "I got a new one. I had a white
one last time. I got a black one now, and I didn't put our name on it, and it
hasn't been touched yet. So, we'll see what happens. I was thinking about
putting on there...actually this is boring, I know, but it's my mailbox. Hey,
this is my life!"
We don't mind at all. Tell us more. "I remember when I
was a kid, my brother Lee, who's the [Screaming Trees'] guitar player, he had a
motor route, where he'd drive around and deliver papers by car out in the
country. And this one lady, somebody kept stealing her newspaper out of her
mailbox. And she put a little sign on it saying, 'If you steal my paper again,
I WILL SHOOT YOU!' An 80 year old lady! I was thinking about putting up one of
those notes, but I figured, uh, they probably have guns, too, these kids, so
Eighty year old ladies taking aim at kids? Mailbox-thieving
youngsters packing heat? Oh, well. Chalk it all up to experience for this